Pressure on Syria
American pressure on Syria seems to be mounting by the day. President George Bush gave Damascus a deadline for withdrawing its troops from Lebanon -- May. This demand, he said, was non- negotiable. To this newly-found urgency for a Syrian withdrawal, Britain's Labor Party government has added its voice.
Whether Syria is an occupying power or not could perhaps be a matter of opinion. But the only Middle Eastern country that has been in occupation of foreign territory for 37 years is Israel.
The UN, too, recognizes Israel as an occupying power and has demanded its withdrawal from the occupied territories. However, far from being considered a pariah, the Zionist state seems to be a role model for good neighborly relations in the eyes of the U.S. and Britain.
There have also been darker hints from Washington and Tel Aviv about taking military action against Syria. Seen against similar threats being hurled at Iran, these jingoistic policies could throw the entire Middle East into turmoil. Instead of threatening Syria, the United States and Britain would do well to leave the withdrawal issue to be worked out by Lebanon and Syria.
-- The Dawn, Karachi